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5 Great One-Pot Camp Meals You Can Make Without an Instant Pot

A one-pot camp meal might sound too good to be true. After all, could it really be that easy to make an entire meal with little to no cleanup in the middle of the woods?

With the right recipes, you bet it is! You can make many of your favorite dishes with only a few pieces of cookware, utensils, and some planning. 

If you’re ready for five awesome meals that don’t require an Instant Pot, you’re in the right place. 

Let’s dig in!

Teapot and Cast Iron Skillet Over Campfire. Whether over the fire or on a stove, one pot camp meals win!
Whether over the fire or on a stove, one-pot camp meals win!

What Is a One-Pot Camp Meal?

You’re probably familiar with one-pot meals already. They’re a super similar concept, requiring just one piece of cookware and limited utensils.

Camping is a big undertaking that requires a lot of preparation. It’s no wonder many campers opt for convenience foods like trail mix and hot dogs.

However, with the right recipe, you can make a nutritious, tasty meal right at your own campsite. And a one-pot dish guarantees two things. Firstly, they use basic ingredients, and secondly, easy cleanup. Talk about a win-win!

Appliances like Instant Pots make at-home meals incredibly simple. But if you don’t have one or are boondocking, you’ll need to fall back on some old-school cooking utensils.

The type of cookware depends on the recipes you choose to make. Plan to bring a few standard items, such as a cast-iron skillet, Dutch oven, and mid-sized pot.

How to Cook One-Pot Camp Meals

One-pot camp meals are a simple solution for healthy food that tastes great. That said, you may want to invest in more than just camping-friendly cookware.

A good cooler will help keep your perishable ingredients fresh. Choose a size that works for you, and ensure it stays cold as long as needed. Nowadays, many coolers are guaranteed to hold their temperatures for up to three days.

Another thing to consider is your heat source. Do you plan to cook over an open campfire? Make sure your pots and pans are fire-safe before your trip. Not all cookware can withstand open flame.

If you think you may encounter a burn ban or cool temperatures, consider buying a camp stove. These little contraptions are small yet powerful enough to cook almost anything. Most require small propane fuel cans that are simple to pack.

Finally, get prepped ahead of your trip. You can slice veggies, pre-portion meats, and plan which seasonings you’ll use for each dish before you leave home. When it’s time to cook, you’ll be grateful you did.

Looking for good and compact RV cooking equipment? Look no more: Here’s the Best RV Cookware.

5 Great One-Pot Camping Meals 

Even if you’re boondocking, your food doesn’t have to be as primitive as your surroundings. Spice up your trip with easy food that actually tastes good.

Here are five one-pot camp meals guaranteed to keep you full and happy.

#1 Oatmeal

Oatmeal is the perfect breakfast. It’s nutritious, simple to make, and fun to customize. Choose either individually-packaged instant or bulk-packaged quick oats, water, and your favorite mix-ins.

Boil water on your camp stove or over your fire, add some oats to a small bowl, then stir the two together. Now you’re ready to dress up your oats. You could toss in brown sugar and chocolate for a sweet treat, dried fruits and coconut, or healthy seeds like chia, flax, and hemp hearts.

All you need for this recipe is a pot, a bowl, and a spoon. Afterward, just rinse your bowl, and you’re done with cleanup.

#2 Fritatta

A frittata seems like a fancy brunch food, but this camp meal is a one-pot-wonder. Eggs, shredded cheese, and a mix of firm and soft sliced veggies are the only ingredients.

This dish works best over an open flame in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven with a top. However, you can make a frittata on your camp stove, too. Just use your second burner to heat your lid and ensure even cooking.

Whisk your eggs and add your cheese, soft veggies, and desired seasonings. Saute your firm veggies and pour in the cheese mixture, cover, and allow to cook.

This recipe requires four pieces of cookware. You’ll need a skillet or Dutch oven, a whisk for the eggs, a plate for eating, and a fork. Or you could save yourself some cleanup and just eat straight from the pot.

A spinach and feta frittata is an easy one-pot camp meal
A frittata is an easy one-pot camp meal

#3 Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a delicious option for a one-pot camp meal. It’s easy to make and can be completely customized to your tastes. For a simple Italian-style dish, pack some dry pasta, Italian dressing, grated Parmesan, a can of olives, sliced tomatoes, and scallions.

Boil your water and cook your pasta, then pour off the pasta water. Add Italian dressing, then mix in your veggies and cheese. You could even include pre-packaged pepperoni or cooked chicken for more protein.

The only utensils you need for pasta salad are a pot, bowl, and spoon. Wash your bowl after eating, and boom! You’re ready for the next hike.

When it’s time to upgrade your campfire cooking gear: 5 Best Campfire Cooking Kits.

#4 Chili Mac

Nothing is better than a hearty bowl of chili mac. This one-pot camp meal uses just seven basic ingredients and keeps you full for hours. Bring along chopped onion and peppers, tomato paste, ground beef or meat substitute, canned beans, macaroni, beef or veggie broth, and shredded cheese.

Just heat your Dutch oven, saute your onions and peppers, brown your meat, and allow your noodles and beans to cook in the mix. Stir in your cheese, and you’re ready to go. You can customize your chili mac with toppings like sour cream, sliced scallions, or extra cheese.

If you prep your veggies ahead of time, you’ll only need your Dutch oven, a cooking spatula, a bowl, and a fork for this dish. After a quick wash, your cookware is clean and ready for your next meal.

#5 Campfire Nachos

Nachos are a beloved, easy snack with endless customization options. You may be surprised to learn they make a fabulous one-pot camp meal.

Your cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven is the perfect choice for campfire nachos. Just make sure you have a lid or a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the pan. 

Pack neutral cooking oil, your favorite tortilla chips, salsa, cheese, and your desired nacho toppings. Oil your pan before creating three layers of chips topped with salsa, toppings, and cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted. 

Just wash your skillet or Dutch oven, and the clean-up is finished. We suggest eating your nachos straight from the pan to avoid extra dishes.

Want more ideas? This Camp Cooking book series offers great one-pot, Dutch oven, foil packet, dessert, and other campfire recipes.

One-Pot Camp Meals are a Win!

Forget convenience foods like hot dogs and trail mix. When you’re camping, getting good nutrition is important, so give your body what it needs without the hassle of a five-course spread.

Most one-pot camp meals only require basic cooking skills, ingredients, and utensils. Just sit back and let the fire do all the work. With the right tools and some planning, you can cook almost anything on your next adventure!

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